10 books like Travels with My Aunt

By Graham Greene,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Travels with My Aunt. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Playing the Moldovans at Tennis

By Tony Hawks,

Book cover of Playing the Moldovans at Tennis

Travel writing can be so serious. “I was a divorced heroin addict so I went on a hike” or “I have a terminal disease; this is my final journey.” This book (and the other books on my list) illuminate foreign places and people with erudition, thoughtfulness, and laughter.

Whenever I’m in London, I visit Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street and ask the sales assistant to recommend a humorous book about the former Soviet Union. Playing the Moldovans at Tennis is one of my favorites.  British comedian Tony Hawk's first book, Round Ireland with a Fridge, saw him hitchhike around the island to win a drunken £100 bet. In this book, Hawks accepts a bet from a friend that he can’t beat the entire Moldovan football team at tennis and the loser has to strip down and sing the Moldovan national anthem on Balham High Road. While his escapades…

Playing the Moldovans at Tennis

By Tony Hawks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Playing the Moldovans at Tennis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'All I knew about Moldova were the names of eleven men printed on the inside back pages of my newspaper. None of them sounded to me like they were any good at tennis ...'

An eccentric wager finds Tony Hawks, a man who loves an unusual challenge, bound for the little-known Eastern European state of Moldova. His mission: to track down members of the country's football team and persuade them to play him at tennis. The bizarre quest ultimately has little to do with tennis or football, but instead turns into an extraordinary journey involving the Moldovan underworld, gypsies, chronic…


The Geography of Bliss

By Eric Weiner,

Book cover of The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

The USA is unique in that our Declaration of Independence identifies the happiness of citizens as a goal when organizing the country. The Geography of Bliss asks why all countries are not similarly organized. This book is a fun romp as the author visits different countries that have radically different happiness levels and seeks to find out why. A key finding from the book is that a rich cultural life increases happiness. This is consistent with my research that has shown its connections to, and experiences with, other people that account for most differences in happiness. This book made me think about what communities can do to foster social connections that drive up happiness levels. 

The Geography of Bliss

By Eric Weiner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Geography of Bliss as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What makes a nation happy? Is one country's sense of happiness the same as another's? In the last two decades, psychologists and economists have learned a lot about who's happy and who isn't. The Dutch are, the Romanians aren't, and Americans are somewhere in between...

After years of going to the world's least happy countries, Eric Weiner, a veteran foreign correspondent, decided to travel and evaluate each country's different sense of happiness and discover the nation that seemed happiest of all.

*He discovers the relationship between money and happiness in tiny and extremely wealthy Qatar (and it's not a good…


In the Empire of Genghis Khan

By Stanley Stewart,

Book cover of In the Empire of Genghis Khan: A Journey Among Nomads

As a child, Irish author Stewart dreamed of riding a horse across Mongolia and this book is the fulfillment of his dream. In the heart of the book, Stewart travels 1,000-miles across the vast steppes of Mongolia on horseback. He encounters stunning scenery, a hilarious nomad wedding brawl, and “a vast medieval world of nomads apparently undisturbed since 1200.” This book is worth it just for my favorite exchange.  While Stewart was watching the wrestling competition at  Mongolia’s annual Naadam Festival, he asked a fellow observer why the wrestler’s jackets had “long sleeves but an open front that left the chest bare.” “Keeps the women out,” he muttered.  Turns out Mongolian women are fearsome wrestlers. 

In the Empire of Genghis Khan

By Stanley Stewart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Empire of Genghis Khan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vivid, hilarious, and compelling, this eagerly awaited book takes its place among the travel classics. It is a thrilling tale of adventure, a comic masterpiece, and an evocative portrait of a medieval land marooned in the modern world. Eight and a half centuries ago, under Genghis Khan, the Mongols burst forth from Central Asia in a series of spectacular conquests that took them from the Danube to the Yellow Sea. Their empire was seen as the final triumph of the nomadic "barbarians." In this remarkable book Stanley Stewart sets off on a pilgrimage across the old empire, from Istanbul to…


Tuva or Bust! Richard Feynman's Last Journey

By Ralph Leighton,

Book cover of Tuva or Bust! Richard Feynman's Last Journey

Legendary physicist Richard Feynman’s intrigue with the remote Siberian country of Tanaa Tuva was inspired by the country’s triangular postage stamps he collected as a child. As an adult, he asked his friend, Ralph Leighton if he knew anything about the country and when the two men discovered the capital was the “legitimate vowel-less” Kyzyl, they become obsessed with visiting it. Feynman and Leighton spent over ten years trying to reach Tuva, foiled by ridiculous Soviet bureaucracy and ultimately, Feynman’s death from cancer. While the ending is bittersweet, this story of friendship and obsession is a fitting tribute to Feynman’s passion, playfulness, and curiosity. 

Tuva or Bust! Richard Feynman's Last Journey

By Ralph Leighton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tuva or Bust! Richard Feynman's Last Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1977, Feynman and his sidekick- fellow drummer and geography enthusiast Ralph Leighton-set out to make arrangements to visit Tuva, doing noble and hilarious battle with Soviet red tape, befriending quite a few Tuvans, and discovering the wonders of Tuvan throat-singing. Their Byzantine attempts to reach Tannu Tuva would span a decade, interrupted by Feynman's appointment to the committee investigating the Challenger disaster, and his tragic struggle with the cancer that finally killed him. Tuva or Bust! chronicles the deepening friendship of two zany, brilliant strategists whose love of the absurd will delight and instruct. It is Richard Feynman's last,…


The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4

By Sue Townsend,

Book cover of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4

No list of narrator-driven novels would be complete without at least one diary entry. Yet this one holds a particular place in my heart. The struggles of a 13 and ¾-year-old boy who believes he is an intellectual and therefore doesn’t fit in, is rich with humor. Adrian doesn’t understand much of what is happening around him. His innocence is revealed perfectly through his diary entries. His naïveté is charming and hilarious, and transported me back to my own youth, thinking I knew so much, yet understanding so little. A joy to read and re-read. 

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4

By Sue Townsend,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A humorous story first published in 1982, which chronicles the daily life of a teenage boy and all his problems.


Nobody Said Not to Go

By Ken Cuthbertson,

Book cover of Nobody Said Not to Go: The Life, Loves, and Adventures of Emily Hahn

If Emily Hahn’s real-life adventures were in a novel, you’d say they were completely implausible. I discovered this unorthodox travel journalist when I was in my twenties, longing for my own travel experiences. Born in 1905 when women’s options were limited, Emily simply saw life as an adventure and didn’t let her gender or youth stop her from traveling the world solo. She voyaged to Africa on a steamer; worked for the Red Cross in the Belgian Congo; became a concubine and got hooked on opium in Shanghai; moved to Hong Kong where she helped with underground relief work — all the while writing books and articles for publications like The New Yorker. She inspired me to live life as an adventure and then write about it. (But obviously, without all the affairs and opium!)

Nobody Said Not to Go

By Ken Cuthbertson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nobody Said Not to Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Known as Mickey to her friends, Emily Hahn was a feminist trailblazer before the word existed. She ran away to the Belgian Congo as a Red Cross Worker during the Great Depression, was the concubine of a Chinese poet in Shanghai in the 1930s, had a child with the head of the British Secret Service in Hong Kong before WWII ...


They Came to Baghdad

By Agatha Christie,

Book cover of They Came to Baghdad

I read and reread this suspense novel as a teen, wanting to live vicariously through Victoria Jones — a bored twenty-something working as a temp in 1950’s London, yearning for adventure. After being fired for the umpteenth time, Victoria impulsively takes a job as a travel companion for an invalid heading to Baghdad, where political intrigue bubbles beneath the surface of the city. When a spy unexpectedly dies in her bedroom, Victoria finds herself on the run, and must hide out in an archaeological dig in the middle of the desert. Plot twists and unlikely romance culminate in a rather clever ending. Agatha Christie’s own experiences on digs in the Middle East lend this book the distinct flavor of that time period. If only the role of “travel companion” still existed today — sign me up!

They Came to Baghdad

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked They Came to Baghdad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Agatha Christie's international mystery thriller, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.

Baghdad is the chosen location for a secret summit of superpowers, concerned but not convinced, about the development of an, as yet, unidentified and undescribed secret weapon.

Only one man has the proof that can confirm the nature of this fantastic secret weapon - a British agent named Carmichael. Unfortunately the criminal organisation responsible for the weapon's development will stop at nothing to prevent him entering Baghdad and presenting his proof to the assembled delegates.…


The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

By Dorothy Gilman,

Book cover of The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

“A little old lady from New Jersey becomes more trouble than the CIA, or anyone else, bargained for.” I loved Mrs. Pollifax from the first few pages and followed her from this introductory book through several books. Who wouldn’t like a sixty-something gardening lady, who knows karate, and manages to join the CIA in the middle of the Cold War? She’s always wanted to be a spy and she does it with panache, humor, and great success. Her adventures, her unique solutions, and her absolute good cheer and survival kept me coming back for more. This first book covers her accidental hiring by the CIA and her first mission gone awry in the 1950s. Everyone I recommend the book to loves Mrs. Pollifax.

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

By Dorothy Gilman,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mrs Emily Pollifax is a 60-ish widow wanting more from life than teas and garden club meetings. In search of adventure, she decides to offer her services to the CIA - who, after all, would spot a suburban grandmother as a cold war secret agent? - and adventure she finds. Her first assignment, in Mexico City, doesn't sound dangerous until something goes wrong. She suddenly finds herself abducted across the world, embroiled in quite a hot Cold War... and her abductors find themselves entangled with one unbelievably feisty lady. Armed with only an open mind and a little karate, Mrs…


Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin)

By Hergé,

Book cover of Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin)

I couldn’t resist adding a Tintin graphic novel to my list since Herge’s adventure series is widely beloved — and this one is a particular favorite. The story opens when the miserly millionaire, Laszlo Carreidas, "the millionaire who never laughs," invites Tintin, Captain Haddock, and Professor Calculus to accompany him on his private jet to Sydney instead of taking commercial Flight 714. It all seems rather jolly — until the millionaire’s jet is hijacked and diverted to a volcanic island in Java. As always, Herge nails the geographical details, plot twists, cheeky humor — and the idiosyncrasies of human nature, like grizzled Captain Haddock’s constant frustration with absentminded Professor Calculus. As a kid, these books opened entire worlds to me — I couldn’t wait to grow up and embark on my own adventures!

Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin)

By Hergé,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic graphic novel. On their way to Sydney, Tintin and Captain Haddock run into an old friend, a pilot who offers them a ride on a private jet. But when the plane gets hijacked, Tintin and the Captain find themselves prisoners on a deserted volcanic island!


Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

By Gail Honeyman,

Book cover of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

This novel contains an amazingly realistic portrayal of a neurodiverse character. The profound loneliness and trauma revealed are hard to read, but I'm so glad I did. Equally hilarious and sad, the story left me more conscientious of how I view and treat others. Add this to your reading list if you love a novel that strains your brain and pumps your heart. 

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

By Gail Honeyman,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

"Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!" -Reese Witherspoon

No one's ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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